Tag Archives: Methodology

Eleven Great Take-Aways from #FOCI14

How to distill so many talks into a few great points… Well, how about

1. Privacy: I normally think about privacy in one way: Don’t touch my data. Today’s talk made me think about privacy just a little bit differently. Is privacy less about “don’t touch my stuff” and more about “I will determine when and where my stuff is available” – Hacking Happinesss by John Havens

2. Name Calling: Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a very conscious effort to not use the word ‘consumer’ wherever possible. If I absolutely must say consumer, perhaps in case to distinguish them from researchers, then I’ll go with the word responder or participant. Try it. You will see that it’s really hard to make that switch. It was really nice to hear someone else make this same very important point. –  Hacking Happinesss by John Havens

I’ve made a very conscious effort to not use the word ‘consumer’

3. Innovation: I heard today that most people learn about innovation from their colleagues. I was a little disappointed to hear this. It means that researchers aren’t researching, they aren’t seeking out knowledge, or looking for new techniques of improving how they do their work. Have researchers lost their passion for research? Why aren’t we actively seeking out this knowledge? –  Progress in Adoption of Innovations for Consumer Intelligence by William MacElroy

4. Meet: Have every team, from marketing to PR to product to research, meet once a year to discuss all the research findings. This is such a great idea and I wonder how many companies actually do it. Admittedly, it would take a lot of effort to pull together all the reports and go through them one more time in preparation for a meeting. But imagine how much time and money it would save by avoiding the launch of new research projects that could have been done with data that was already in house! – Award-Winning, Top-Tier Research on a Budget! by Marc Harwitz and Kimberly Cason

5. Unobtrusive measures: Social sciences have been using unobtrusive research methods for decades. There are hundreds of textbooks on these methods in sociology, psychology, anthropology and more. These methods are fabulous for hypothesis generation so why doesn’t marketing research use them more often? Why don’t YOU use them more often. – Building a Social Spine in Tracking Research by Larry Friedman

6. Representativeness: I personally don’t care how representative your panel or your sample or your survey is. The only thing I care about is predictability. If you can reliably and consistently predict the future, then go ahead and do it. I won’t criticize your methodology one little bit. – Building a Social Spine in Tracking Research by Larry Friedman

 If you can reliably and consistently predict the future, then go ahead and do it. I won’t criticize your methodology one little bit

7. Imputing: Imputing data is fun. Okay, okay, I was just a little geeked out in this session which described a few different ways of imputing data after modularizing a survey. Shorter is better when it comes to mobile surveys and you don’t need to fret about missing data from people who only answered half a survey. – A ‘How-To’ Session on Modularizing a Live Survey for Mobile Optimization by Chris Neal and Roddy

8. Hypothesize: This is a problem I see all the time. We need to do a lot better job of defining and detailing our hypotheses prior to beginning our research. This will save you time and money as you can ensure that your project stays on target and answers the questions you truly need answered. – A Unique Approach to Maximizing the Value of Exploratory Research by Gareth Schweitzer

9. Be Wrong: It’s okay to be wrong. It’s not embarrassing to be wrong. Mistakes made early on are mistakes not actioned on. And consequently, time and money saved. Not everyone likes to make little  mistakes but everyone loves to avoid huge mistakes and save money! – What’s Your Hypothesis? A Unique Approach to Maximizing the Value of Exploratory Research by Gareth Schweitzer

Not everyone likes to make little  mistakes but everyone loves to avoid huge mistakes and save money

10. Money: And since the previous notes have identified just how important money is, if money determines your methodology, then you are sacrificing something. So, first identify your hypotheses. Sit down with a piece of paper (paper? okay, okay, tablet) and carefully write out your hypotheses. That will then determine what methodology is most suitable. Use the right method and your money will be used wisely. – What’s Your Hypothesis? A Unique Approach to Maximizing the Value of Exploratory Research by Gareth Schweitzer

11. DIY: DIY tools are awesome. They truly are. They can do so much more and so much better than they used to. If you want to criticize something, criticize cases where the people using the tools are unskilled and don’t have the expertise to use the tools properly. Remember, client side researchers are often just as skilled as you are. Indeed, many of them are MORE skilled than you are. Have respect for the ultra-skilled DIY researcher. – Jack Be Nimble: Faster & Richer Insights Through Insourcing by Richard Shakarchi

Annie Pettit, PhD is the Chief Research Officer at Peanut Labs, a company specializing in self-serve panel sample. Annie is a methodologist focused on data quality, listening research, and survey methods. She won Best Methodological Paper at Esomar 2013, and the 2011 AMA David K. Hardin Award. Annie tweets at @LoveStats and can be reached at annie@peanutlabs.com.

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Live from FOCI 2013: Taking Choice Modeling to the next level

Survey taking is an ardent task, and day in day out, it presents rather archaic responses which almost mandate innovation. Joris Huisman and Eline van der Gaast presented new innovations of understanding a changing consumer and service landscape with 3 innovations that can help to better consumer understanding.

Menu based conjoint allows you to understand consumer choices based on services that are made of a plethora of permutations and combinations. Think of automobiles, Dell laptops, salads or burger menus. Understanding consumer sensitivity to different levels of options is what SKIM excels in understanding, which in turn provides actionable recommendations in markets where customization is critical.

When multiple stakeholders are involved, adaptive conjoint analysis is needed to gauge interactions between different stakeholders that affect a product’s uptake. Exemplifying this through the controversial healthcare industry and its players of physicians, patients and their interaction for product sales. Clearly, an intermediate is needed to understand which of these pools of thought should drive strategy.

And lastly, instead of asking questions, consumers can be engaged in surveys that mimic reality. Using a virtual shelf design to enable consumers to feel like they are shopping, heat maps and the lies can be brought to life to understand what consumers are looking at before the point of purchase. Facial recognition takes this a step further in understanding what a consumer actually feels, bringing to light the emotional understanding.

New ways of research are critical to understanding consumers in a rapidly changing consumer landscape. Innovation is thus valued as a mandatory step for marketers and researchers moving forward.

Sourabh Sharma,
Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international
consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering,
marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton
School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and
product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting,
he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every
platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer,
and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called
3FS. He may be reached at
s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on

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About the Author
iModerate is a qualitative research firm that goes beyond the obvious by connecting with consumers through real-time, online, one-on-one conversations. Utilized within an online survey for a hybrid approach or as a stand-alone qualitative method, our professionally moderated conversations deliver candid feedback and give you more of the insight that matters to you.
iModerate Research Technologies is a sponsor of The Future of Consumer Intelligence and The Market Research Event and will join us on site to explore we can transform market research together.